Wildfire and Fire Safety
Given the right weather and fuel conditions, wildfire can move shockingly fast. Each year, California's wildfire season seems to grow more devastating and destructive. Take action now to defend you, your family, and your home from fire.
CREATE A DEFENSIBLE HOME
Thousands of homes in Malibu and the surrounding areas are in serious danger of destruction by fire because they are in the Wildland Urban Interface (WUI), where human development intermingles with forests, fields, and other wildlands. However, there are steps homeowners can take to reduce the chance of home ignition.
- Prune trees and vegetation away from the house, including vines or ivy
- Use fire-resistant building materials, such as brick, cement, masonry, or stucco, whenever possible
- Cover rain gutters to prevent accumulation of pine needles, leave, and roofing sand runoff
- Keep the area around, under, and over propane tanks clear of tree branches and leaves
- Embers are one of the greatest threats to your home during a wildfire. Seal off eaves or other gaps that might allow embers to get into the interior of your home.
- Railroad ties should not be used for landscaping. They are extremely flammable and prone to re-ignition even after the initial fire.
UNDERSTAND RED FLAG WARNINGS
A Red Flag Warning is issued by the National Weather Service for weather events that may result in extreme fire behavior that will occur within 24 hours. A Fire Weather Watch is issued when weather conditions could exist in the next 12-72 hours. During these times extreme caution is urged by all residents, because a simple spark can cause a major wildfire. The Fire Department, Sheriff's Department, and City respond to warnings and watches by increasing staffing and resources. Residents should avoid risky fire behaviors and remain vigilant. If you see flames or smell smoke, call 911 immediately.
BUILD AN ACTION PLAN
It is critical to decide ahead of time how you and your family will respond to a wildfire and evacuation orders.
- Plan multiple escape routes from your home and other parts of Malibu that you frequent. Los Angeles County Fire Department's Ready! Set! Go! program can help you plan for evacuations in advance.
- Pick a location to the North (Valley) and South (West LA/Santa Monica) where family members coming from different areas can reunite.
- Make sure your disaster supply kit contains appropriate protective clothing for fire conditions.
- Have several ways to stay in touch with family and friends. Texting may be more reliable when networks are overloaded. Radios may also be helpful, depending on the situation. Mobile phone apps like Zello can work as long as you have power and WiFi.
- Practice your plan! Know what items you can grab in five minutes, 30 minutes, one hour, and so on.
HOUSE FIRE SAFETY
The City now offers a free "Home Ignition Zone Assessment Program" to help residents harden their homes against flying embers, which is a major cause of homes catching fire during wildfires, including the Woolsey Fire. To schedule an appointment, contact Jerry Vandermeulen at 310-456-2489, ext. 387 or JVandermeulen@malibucity.org.
Every single person, no matter where they live, or what kind of home they live in, is at risk of a house fire. Common causes of fires that begin inside the home include: unattended candles, cooking mishaps, faulty wiring, and flammable materials. Luckily, house fires are entirely preventable. Use the resources below to improve home fire safety for you and your family:
- Use the Red Cross' Fire Safety Checklist in English or Spanish
- Be sure to regularly test your smoke alarms
- Learn about Home Fire Safety for Kids
- Keep your Pets safe too!